Trócaire: Hurricane Felix hits Central America
The direction of the hurricane has changed since landfall and is now on target to cut right through the centre of Honduras, and Guatemala and possibly affect parts of El Salvador. In a couple of hours it will be apparent whether the Honduran mountains can slow down its progress, but Felix is traveling at very fast speeds when compared with other hurricanes.
While the new route is bad news for the capital and central parts of the country it may mean less damage and loss of life than in the Coastal area where waves are already 18 feet above normal and where rivers are dangerously swollen from the impact of last weeks Hurricane Dean.
Trócaire's local partners in the area have been frantically making preparations for the hurricane and liaising with staff in the local government emergency response office. They are also in contact with emergency coordination points in all the municipalities sharing up-to-date information on the situation.
Trócaire is now organising contingency funds with local partners for any logistical support required which will enable them to assist in the distribution of emergency relief items - food, cooking utensils, blankets, medical supplies and more vital supplies for the hurricane's aftermath. Local information networks are helping the efforts, with partners conducting evacuations of people living in low lying coastal areas. These networks also provide up-to-date information, which is helping people to implement efficient and accurate plans if required.
If the Hurricane continues on its current path and with the same intensity, massive damage is expected in Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala. The greatest hope is that the hurricane will come in over the main Honduran mountain range and its speed will be reduced. There are widespread alerts as flooding and land slides are predicted for the areas where the hurricane will make landfall.
The highly volatile Category 5 hurricane was gaining in strength this morning as it raced towards Honduras and Nicaragua with top speeds of 235kph (almost 150 mph) - evoking fears of a repeat of the catastrophe of Hurricane Mitch, which killed approximately 10,000 in Central America in 1998.
Up to 40,000 people in Honduras have been vacated to temporary emergency accommodation.
For more information contact Trócaire's press team:
Republic of Ireland: Catherine Ginty, Press Officer, Trócaire. T: +353 1 505 3270 M: 086 629 3994
Northern Ireland & UK: David O'Hare , Press Officer, Trócaire. T: 028 90 80 80 30 M: +44 7900053884